Clinical Scholars Program at The Rockefeller University Hospital/CTSA

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Overview

The K-12 Clinical Scholars program is a training experience designed to prepare physician-scientists and select doctoral level PhD investigators for independent careers in clinical and patient-oriented translational research. The program leads to a Master's degree in Clinical and Translational Research. The program is funded in part by a K-12 grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is linked to the University's Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). In addition, some Clinical Scholars are funded from Rockefeller University endowment funds; these Clinical Scholars do not have to meet the NIH citizenship requirements. Those individuals who demonstrate superior performance during the program will be eligible to extend their training in the Rockefeller University Graduate School as candidates for the PhD degree.

The program is designed to provide an optimal environment and mentoring structure for the Clinical Scholar to develop the experience and capabilities necessary to initiate an independent career as a patient-oriented and translational investigator. A doctoral degree in a clinical area of expertise is the prerequisite for entering the program (MD, DO, DDS, PhD in Psychology, Epidemiology, or Nursing). Most applicants to the program are likely to be physicians who have just completed residency or sub-specialty fellowship and seek training for a future academic career in clinical or translational medical research. Clinical Scholars carry out one or more patient-oriented translational research project(s) under the direct supervision and mentorship of a senior faculty member. This mentored, independent research project is complemented by a rigorous two year core curriculum in Clinical and Translational Investigation. This curriculum provides training in the essentials of clinical and translational research, including the responsible conduct of research, biostatistics, regulatory and ethical issues, as well as standards for conducting clinical studies ("Good Clinical Practice"). Most of the core curriculum is taught as tutorials in which Clinical Scholars present topics of interest from the entire range of clinical and translational research topics, including technology transfer, clinical trial design, protection of human subjects, grant preparation, scientific writing and presentations, conflict of interest, data management, and legal aspects of human investigation. In addition, a humanities in medicine component includes group visits to theater, cinema, museums, and lectures, followed by discussion groups. Scholars develop grant writing skills by submitting a research grant or a fellowship application to an appropriate funding agency during the program. The Scholars actively participate in a course on the molecular pathogenesis of diseases, which consists of a weekly lecture by a distinguished clinical investigator, readings on the topic, and a one hour period of discussion with the speaker over lunch. In addition, all of the Clinical Scholars in the program are required to take one graduate level course relevant to their clinical project in the Rockefeller graduate program and have the option of taking additional course offerings. Each Scholar receives a copy of the book Principles and Practice of Clinical Research, 2nd Edition, which grew out of the NIH course in Clinical Investigation and provides a basic framework for selecting topics. Clinical Scholars are encouraged to submit proposals for pilot study funding from the Rockefeller University Center for Clinical and Translational Science, which is funded by the CTSA.

Current and recent Clinical Scholars conduct, or have conducted, innovative research to forge better understanding of the treatment and biology of HIV infection, the development of vaccines for HIV, the autoimmune basis of psoriasis, immune dysregulation associated with hepatitis C, the role of leptin in obesity, the regulation of dietary cholesterol absorption, the molecular/genetic bases of addictive disease, the pathogenesis of sickle cell disease, tumor immunology, and antigen presenting dendritic cell biology. Working with patients on a daily basis, while also conducting detailed bench investigations at the cellular, biochemical, molecular, and in some cases, atomic level, enables Clinical Scholars to make unique contributions to our understanding of disease and novel ways to prevent and treat illness. Thus, they divide their time between the laboratory and both the inpatient unit and the ambulatory research center of the Rockefeller University Hospital and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Clinical Scholars are usually appointed at the academic rank of Instructor of Clinical Investigation and the Hospital rank of Assistant Physician. If warranted the initial appointment may be at the Assistant Professor level. Salary and fringe benefits, which may include housing if available, are highly competitive.

A list of the Heads of Laboratories and their research interest are available at www.rockefeller.edu/research/heads.php.

A description of the research of current and recent Clinical Scholars is available at http://wfs.rockefeller.edu/hospitalpolicies/Newsletters/ClinicalScholars.

Requirements for Candidates:

MD, DDS, DO, or PhD in Psychology, Epidemiology, or Nursing
New York State License or Limited Permit
Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certificate

The Clinical Scholars Program is now accepting applications for a July 2015 start date.  The application deadline is December 5, 2014.

For an on-line application, go to http://scholarapplication.rockefeller.edu

For additional information contact Dr. Barry S. Coller at Barry.Coller@rockefeller.edu